Ch-ch-ch-changes

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After the snow fall that Norwich had this weekend, I’m suddenly feeling a lot more Christmassy than I was. Let’s face it, I wasn’t exactly scrooge-like before, so I’m basically an elf now!

The snow even inspired me to buy some Christmas presents, huzzah. My spreadsheet’s coming along nicely, especially since I employed the traffic light system… I still have no idea what to buy some people, though. I find it pretty hard to buy presents for other people that aren’t secretly (or not so secretly, in some cases) for myself. In fact, I am one of those people that has to buy themselves presents when Christmas shopping so they don’t get jealous. Sad, I know. Maybe I didn’t get enough love in my childhood or something! I’m kidding, of course. I definitely didn’t! (boom boom)

Of course, I’m not going to tell you who I’ve bought for and who is causing problems. Suffice it to say, I should have managed everything by mid-December, which’ll be nice. I like being super organised for Christmas – and we need to be this year as we’re leaving for Plymouth early on the 23rd, so we need to have finished everything by the weekend before. That’s because we’re off to the cinema that weekend and then my work Christmas do is on the Monday.

Well, I say work Christmas do. What I actually mean is ‘one of the work Christmas dos’. At the last count, we’ve got four. Four! One huge, department event at Carrow Road, a smaller team one at a pub in Norwich, a small team one somewhere else and another one which I’ve forgotten the reason for and no doubt will be in a pub in Norwich. Phew! This does mean that I need a new drrrrresssss. I want a strapless, electric blue prom dress, perhaps with a bow at the back. I also want a tux jacket to go over the top. Any ideas? I’m going shopping with Miss S this week so hopefully it’ll all be sorted out in plenty of time. To be honest, I could scrape by with what’s in the wardrobe, but where’s the fun in that?

Aside from the numerous, multiple work dos, I have a hugely busy week this week. Not that I’m complaining, but here’s how my week looks: Monday: Tim Minchin, Tuesday: hair makeover/football match, Wednesday:dress shopping, Thursday: The Vagina Monologues and Friday: The Waterfront for 90s night. Sheesh. It’s only Monday and I’m shattered already. Oh. Dear.
Still, I do enjoy being busy. I also have a driving lesson at 09.30am on Saturday, so I’d better make sure I only have one or two pints – there’s nothing worse than learning to drive with a hangover! The last time I did that we went to the beer festival, which was really good fun but drinking different, very high percentage ciders for 6 hours and then getting up at 7.15am to drive was not the best morning of my life.

O, we found out last night that the showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” is being shown in the technicolour version. Boo. We were all set to haul fifteen of us to go and see it, exchange secret santa gifts and enjoy a roast dinner the Sunday before Christmas. If anyone has seen it in colour and black and white, I’d love to know what you thought. The stills I’ve seen in colour just look horrible – uber bright and basically, just plain wrong. So, we need a change of plan. Personally I think a pot luck at someone’s house (the one with the biggest living room) would be pretty cool – we could borrow a projector from somewhere and camp out on the floor. Pot luck would be cool too – it would mean the host(s) wouldn’t have to worry about feeding fifteen people and everyone could pitch in. I’m singing “Buffalo Girls” just thinking about it. Yay.

I spent six hours last Saturday reading “Breaking Dawn”. For those of you who don’t know, it’s the fourth in the Stephenie Meyer series about the love story of Bella and Edward. They’re ace. They make me feel like I should be sixteen again in order to read them and appreciate them properly, but in a way they make me feel like I am sixteen again. They’re well written and well thought out – it doesn’t try to hard to be clever and the most important thing – they’re funny. Bella spends the series trying to convince Edward to turn her into a vampire to stop her getting wrinkly (and so they can be together forever, blah blah blah) and Edward spends the series tying to get her to marry him before she’s a vampire, so she can have the human experience he never had. There’s more to it than that, of course, but it’s pretty funny. I recommend them to anyone who enjoys Buffy, Angel – any Joss Whedon stuff, mixed with a bit of Gossip Girl.
The other great thing about Stephenie Meyer is that (apart from having FOUR Es in her name) she lists her music playlist in all of her books, the bands that inspire her to write. I think this is great as I believe that music is extremely inspiring and can alter our mood in an instant. Just think about when you’re walking down the street listening to your i-pod and something with a fantastic beat comes on – The Clash’s Should I stay or Should I go, Kaiser Chief’s “Yours Truly, Angry Mob”, anything by Soulwax etc etc. I don’t know about anyone else, but my pace automatically speeds up, my head raises, I stand straighter and it makes me nearly dance. Anyway, the point is, Meyer’s inspirations appear to be taken directly from my CD collection – Arcade Fire, Muse and Interpol to name a few.

There are four books in the Bella/Edward saga. I enjoyed every one of them. If you’re stuck for a Christmas present, I recommend them. For you or someone else. Thanks to my good friend Miss B for introducing me to them and for having such good taste in books (and music and film!)

Say goodbye to my brown hair, friends. Tomorrow (Tuesday) I will be getting my old colour stripped and a brand new colour laid on. I’m jonesing for a white blonde. I’ve wanted to be white blonde since I crushed on Dash-X from Eerie, Indiana.
The downside is that the only person I can think of with the right kind of blonde is this guy:

Although the suit is amazing, I am worried about his expression and the fact that it may rub off on me if I dye my hair his colour. I don’t think that will happen, though. It’s more likely that the hairdresser will refuse to make it that colour. Never fear, bleach savvy friends – it’s organic colour so it will be much better for my hair. I’m quite excited, though.

Wish me luck! I may post a photo on Wednesday…. Happy week, dear readers.

Walking in a winter wonderland

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Firstly, my apologies to you. I’ve been meaning to write again for weeks but seem to run out of time.
I’m in the third week of my job and I really enjoy it. It feels like I’ve been here for about three days in terms of time passing – the weeks fly by as there’s so much to do. Everyone’s really nice – I’m sure that’ll change as I settle in more with the team, but so far it’s all been a smooth transition. As a whole, the team are really busy which means that I haven’t really had a chance to get to know everyone yet. As usual, smoking helps with that as you get to recognise people and have chats with them outside of work. The hierarchy disappears when you’re a smoker – if you (on the bottom rung) and the Director-General-President smoke, you’ll find yourself swapping nieces and nephews stories in no time, bumming fags from each other and co-ordinating breaks. In terms of the other people, we have a few Christmas lunches coming up so that’ll be a chance to get to know them properly.
I love working in Norwich. I’ve met a few friends for lunch already, which is great. I also get home in time for Neighbours, which I haven’t done for at least a year. Luckily, I have great friends who update me on what’s happening to who. It definitely looks different on Channel 5, though. Still, it’s nice to have the option of watching it if I want. Hollyoaks is on so late! When I used to work away it’d be a bit of a rush to get home in time for the E4 ep, nevermind the Channel 4 one. Now I have a clear hour to toddle about before the early episode comes on. Simple pleasures, eh?
There are only a few cons, neither of which go anywhere near outweighing the benefits. The first is that I don’t have time to read anymore. I used to spend nearly three hours a day reading when I was on the train, and now I spend an extra hour in bed and an extra hour watching the telly or doing something a little more productive. I know what you’re saying – I could easily set aside an hour or two at night to read. I’m just too lazy to. I am reading eclipse at the moment though, which is the third book in the Edward/Bella vampire saga. It’s pretty ace. Definitely a specific audience, but still ace.
The other con is that I’m spending far too much money! Popping out for lunch leads me into Topshop, where I buy things like this :
Shiny hat of joy
Or I go to somewhere expensive for lunch and end up paying a tenner a day. Not to mention the damage done to my waistline… Still, it’s all worth it. I just need to exercise my willpower a little bit more in the monetary and subsistence ways.

I have a bit of an axe to grind this week. How much does it cost for an overdue book? My library is upwards of £1 per book, per week. That means that I’ve regularly paid £8 for four overdue books, late by ten days. Please, tell me if it’s an over-reaction from me but I resent paying a new book for a couple of overdue books. I think my problem was that I was under the impression that you could get books out for six weeks, when it’s actually three.
That is an oversight on my part. However, I still think that the charges are pretty steep. That means that people who check out the maximum allowance of fifteen books end up paying £15 a week – more, if I’ve calculated incorrectly.
That’s another thing that’s irritating me. The fees and charges aren’t clear at all. On the website, in the library – ask a member of staff and nine times out of ten they give you a different/vague answer.
I wouldn’t grudge it so much if 1) the library was not equipped with dozens of computers complete with scanners, printers etc, none of which I use on a regular basis (ie more than once a year) 2) if the charges were clearer 3)if the library was not already funded with council money, paid for by council tax payers.
When you can get a book from HMV for £3, it seems pointless to waste money on the library.
Don’t get me wrong – the responsibility lies with me. I’m not moaning about the charges themselves – just the sheer expense of them. I’d like to complain but can’t think of a way to do it without sounding like a whiny teenager.
What do you reckon?

Anyway, on to nicer things. Christmas is just around the corner! YAY! I’m always excited about Christmas. I think, if it’s possible, I get more excited every year. We watch Christmas films, eat lots of yummy Christmas stuff (although I don’t like Christmases Cake, Pudding or mince Pies) and generally have lots of fun. I wrote a present list today. In fact, please don’t laugh or disown me due to excessive geekery, but I wrote a spreadsheet. It has people, shops, budget, items and status on it. There’s also a things to do list and a deadline. I might even incorporate some formatting so it can be pretty, shiny colours. Oh. Dear.
I’m also seeing The Black Keys in the next fortnight, in London. I saw them at UEA a couple of years ago and they were amazing. This is going to be cool. Another benefit to working in Norwich – when we got the tickets I was in Cambridge and was going to have to battle through rush hour on the train to get to London and then somehow meet Mr Charming and friends at the venue. This way we can all go together and it’ll be much more relaxed.

Speaking of relaxed – our new bed is amazing. I love it so. The top of the mattress is two feet off the ground, which is amazing when you’ve been sleeping about six inches off the ground for three years. It’s so big as well – I can stretch out and not worry about my feet sticking out the bottom. The duvet’s lush too – we got a Silentnight all seasons tog, which is basically a 9 tog and a 4.5tog duvet which you can stick together with heavy duty Velcro. It’s lovely. I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to get another bed. Of course, now we’ve done that we need to get bedside tables and a couple of tall bookcases as the rest of the house looks out of place… It also took us three hours to get the old bed dismantled and drag the new one upstairs. We live in a cosy mid-terraced house – fairly standard in Norwich. The less than average thing about it, the feature which made us plump for that house in the first place, is the unconventional staircase. It runs parallel with the outside alleyway and is hidden by a door which looks like it should belong to a cupboard. This is great, and it looks lovely, until you try to get something slightly bigger than a lunchbox up the stairs. They take a sharp turn after the door, which led to a pretty stressful forty five minutes. Still, it was all worth it in the end. Suffice it to say: we’re not going to be moving soon.